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Jonathan R.

De Guzman


Cell Theory Is a Core Principle of Biology

The Cell Theory is one of the basic principles of biology. Credit for the formulation of this theory is given to German
scientists Theodor Schwann, Matthias Schleiden, and Rudolph Virchow.

The Cell Theory states:

 All living organisms are composed of cells. They may be unicellular or multicellular.
 The cell is the basic unit of life.
 Cells arise from pre-existing cells. (They are not derived from spontaneous generation.)

The modern version of the Cell Theory includes the ideas that:

 Energy flow occurs within cells.

 Heredity information (DNA) is passed on from cell to cell.
 All cells have the same basic chemical composition.

In addition to the cell theory, the gene theory, evolution, homeostasis, and the laws of thermodynamics form the basic
principles that are the foundation for the study of life.

All living organisms in the kingdoms of life are composed of and depend on cells to function normally. Not
all cells however are alike. There are two primary types of cells: eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Examples of
eukaryotic cells include animal cells, plant cells, and fungal cells. Prokaryotic cells include bacteria and archaeans.
Cells contain organelles, or tiny cellular structures, that carry out specific functions necessary for normal cellular
operation. Cells also contain DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid), the genetic information
necessary for directing cellular activities.
Eukaryotic cells grow and reproduce through a complex sequence of events called the cell cycle. At the end of the
cycle, cells will divide either through the processes of mitosis or meiosis. Somatic cells replicate through mitosis
and sex cells reproduce via meiosis. Prokaryotic cells reproduce commonly through a type of asexual reproduction
called binary fission.
Higher organisms are also capable of asexual reproduction. Plants, algae, and fungireproduce through the formation of
reproductive cells called spores. Animal organisms can reproduce asexually through processes such as budding,
fragmentation, regeneration, and parthenogenesis.
Cells perform a number of important processes that are necessary for the survival of an organism. Cells undergo the
complex process of cellular respiration in order to obtain energy stored in the nutrients consumed. Photosynthetic
organisms including plants, algae, and cyanobacteria are capable of photosynthesis. In photosynthesis, light energy
from the sun is converted to glucose. Glucose is the energy source used by photosynthetic organisms and other
organisms that consume photosynthetic organisms.
Cells also perform the active transport processes of endocytosis and exocytosis. Endocytosis is the process of
internalizing and digesting substances, such as seen with macrophages and bacteria. The digested substances are
expelled through exocytosis. These processes also allow for molecule transportation between cells.
Cell migration is a process that is vital for the development of tissues and organs. Cell movement is also required
for mitosis and cytokinesis to occur. Cell migration is made possible by interactions between motor enzymes
and cytoskeleton microtubules.
The cell process of DNA replication is an important function that is needed for several processes
including chromosome synthesis and cell division to occur. DNA transcription and RNA translation make the process
of protein synthesis possible.
In biology, cell theory is a scientific theory which describes the properties of cells. These cells are the
basic unit of structure in all organisms and also the basic unit of reproduction. With continual improvements made
to microscopes over time, magnification technology advanced enough to discover cells in the 17th century. This
discovery is largely attributed to Robert Hooke, and began the scientific study of cells, also known as cell biology.
Over a century later, many debates about cells began amongst scientists. Most of these debates involved the nature of
cellular regeneration, and the idea of cells as a fundamental unit of life. Cell theory was eventually formulated in
1839. This is usually credited to Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann. However, many other scientists
like Rudolf Virchow contributed to the theory. Cell theory has become the foundation of biology and is the most
widely accepted explanation of the function of cells.
The three tenets to the cell theory are as described below:

1. All living organisms are composed of one or more cells. (However, this is considered a controversy because
non-cellular life such as viruses are disputed as a life form. See Non-cellular life.)
2. The cell is the basic unit of structure and organization in organisms.
3. Cells arise from pre-existing cells.

Cell theory
Credit for developing cell theory is usually given to two scientists: Theodor Schwann and Matthias Jakob
Schleiden. While Rudolf Virchow contributed to the theory, he is not as credited for his attributions toward it. In
1839, Schleiden suggested that every structural part of a plant was made up of cells or the result of cells. He also
suggested that cells were made by a crystallization process either within other cells or from the outside. However, this
was not an original idea of Schleiden. He claimed this theory as his own, though Barthelemy Dumortier had stated it
years before him. This crystallization process is no longer accepted with modern cell theory. In 1839, Theodor
Schwann states that along with plants, animals are composed of cells or the product of cells in their structures. This
was a major advancement in the field of biology since little was known about animal structure up to this point
compared to plants. From these conclusions about plants and animals, two of the three tenets of cell theory were
1. All living organisms are composed of one or more cells
2. The cell is the most basic unit of life
Schleiden's theory of free cell formation through crystallization was refuted in the 1850s by Robert Remak, Rudolf
Virchow, and Albert Kolliker. In 1855, Rudolf Virchow added the third tenet to cell theory. In Latin, this tenet
states Omnis cellula e cellula. This translated to:
3. All cells arise only from pre-existing cells
However, the idea that all cells come from pre-existing cells had in fact already been proposed by Robert Remak; it
has been suggested that Virchow plagiarized Remak and did not give him credit.[15] Remak published observations in
1852 on cell division, claiming Schleiden and Schawnn were incorrect about generation schemes. He instead said
that binary fission, which was first introduced by Dumortier, was how reproduction of new animal cells were made.
Once this tenet was added, the classical cell theory was complete.